WORTH A LOOK?: ****1/2
The Swedish supergroup had 9 UK number 1 singles between 1974 and 1980 while last effort proper was Under Attack which reached a far less lofty 26 in 1982.
- Read on for reasons including why we’re sold on the album but unsure about the ABBA-tar concerts
An astonishing 39 years of silence is broken by these 2 new songs which remind of some of the bygone glories of yesterday but have a maturity about them reflective of time spent apart.
I Still Have Faith In You is seemingly the most lyrically appropriate to this situation (‘I still have faith in you, I see it now, Through all these years that faith lives on somehow.’) and couples a gentle and beautiful mid-tempo piano ballad brilliantly sung by both Agnetha and Anni-Frid, which builds into something anthemic while reminding what a glorious combination of voices the 2 singers still have.
‘Do I have it in me? I believe it is in there. For I know I hear a bittersweet song in the memories we share.’ For us ABBA were always at the top of their game when they combined a devastating lyric with a dazzling pop hook as they did on many songs but especially Knowing Me, Knowing You.
‘We do have it in us,’ they conclude, ‘New spirit has arrived, the joy and the sorrow, We have a story and it survived.’ A perfect return.
Don’t Shut Me Down reminds of penultimate single The Day Before You Came in both subject matter and sound as the vocalists’ contemplate a return to a former lover while there’s a reggae-light shuffle to the more uptempo song.
Again the lyrics are hugely downbeat while the ecstatic piano flourishes lend the song a giddy air. Jarvis Cocker put ABBA’s success down in part to the escapism they offered from the realities of UK life.
The lyrics again are hugely quotable and we’re particularly struck by the concluding: ‘I have learned to cope and love and hope is why I am here now.’ As we write Down is number 9 in the UK and Faith is at 14.
We’ve not been shy about enthusing for our love of schlager and its roots are in a love for ABBA in their prime which finds a natural home in our appreciation for Swedish Eurovision selection show Melodifestivalen, the greatest show on earth. 2 Melodifestivalen tracks make the Steps album released today.
Both these ABBA tracks feature on new 10-song album Voyage which we can’t wait for although we wait to be convinced by the accompanying ABBA-tar hologram show arriving in east London next year. Although the involvement of 1 of our favourite pop stars, Little Boots, playing in the live band recreating the hits is reassuring.